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Research is critical to any successful job hunt – and is an important first step in identifying which companies to target, obtaining information about a company’s culture, its leadership, and so on, and preparing for a job interview. Related: 7 Ways To Sniff Out The REAL Company Culture The three tools below are free, easy to access via the internet, and can help you uncover details about private, public and even nonprofit organizations. They can yield everything from general but useful information about a company’s history and financials to more detailed nuggets of information like what sorts of benefits are offered or even the company’s stance on social responsibility.

1. Company Websites

A quick internet search to find a company website can give you access to everything from press releases and leadership team profiles to media mentions and the sorts of perks and HR benefits available to employees. Pay special attention to the style and tone (traditional, conservative or cutting-edge?) of the website, the language used in the copyrighting (formal or informal?) and the availability of information available. Your take on these can provide you with invaluable insight into a company’s culture and the vibe it is aiming to project to the public.

2. Ranked Lists

Take advantage of ranked and “best of” lists when looking to assemble a list of companies to target based on your interests. These lists range in scope and size from “Top 100 Companies in IT” to “Top 10 Companies for Telecommuting” to “Best Companies for Working Moms” or even “Best Companies to Work for in New York City.”

3. Industry Insights

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers data and info about businesses, industries and economic conditions free of charge. The analysis they provide can provide insight into the challenges faced by companies you may like to work for. At the very least, this research and review can help you to sound prepared and knowledgeable during an interview, or even help you prepare questions.

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About the author

Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW is the founder of Virginia Franco Resumes which offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker. Her strategies and documents have helped 100s to secure interviews in < 60 days.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Bigstock
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